Friday, October 31, 2008

Glowing Light of Fall

Yesterday evening, while watching glaze on pots dry, I looked out the studio windows. The most gorgeous glow was saturating the last of the fall colors outside. So, I grabbed the camera and made the most of good light!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Pottery Pictures are coming next month

Too many orders to fill, pack and ship this week to get more pottery pics shot. Sorry.

You'll just have to be satisfied with the fun stuff we've been shooting while driving around in the fall weather. Great time of year for awesome colors. Trees are just dripping with luscious yellows this week.

More pots in two weeks! I think I'll need a little break from throwing after this huge push for the Fine Craft Show at the Memorial Art Gallery.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend images

This weekend was a study in contrasts. Saturday was rainy, cold and colorful. Sunday came on bright and windy.

Saturday found us at the Bowl-o-thon put on by Cary Joseph at the CSMA in Ithaca. I dont know the full tally of potters who showed up, but it was a lot. Gave us a chance to meet and greet, and hopefully raise funds for the CSMA. Good cause and good fun!

Cheery with sunshine, it made staying in the studio downright impossible. Sunday was gorgeous. First thing in the morning, Nancy and I went out for a brief photo excursion. The light was amazing.... perfect Fall lighting. Great yellows everywhere, and wet wet wet from Saturday's rain. Made for a good time.

Friday, October 24, 2008

OLD pots

First cylinder with Grapefruit Green - my first glaze!

I've decided to dig up more of my old OLD work. Stuff from high school and shortly thereafter. So, tonight's romp through amnesia alley brings us to my first few pots... one thrown and "altered" and the other is my first simple cylinder with my FIRST ever home-made glaze. I still look at this glaze with amazement and wonder what would have happened if my first experiments had met with greater success. I think, by and large, frustration suits me better than success.

When folks ask what it takes to get some of our glazes I never really know what to say. I could hand out formulas till the cows come home and it would be of little to no use. This Grapefruit Green is a perfect case in point.

This glaze was mixed with a paintbrush (didnt know enough to seive a glaze)... remember folks, we're going back over 20 years at this point in my glazing history. Application was by brush. So here is a glaze that was designed back in the 60's by James Chappell (Potters Complete Book Of Clays And Glazes), used LEAD as the main flux. Hey, we had lead in containers in the glaze lab, I wore gloves and mixed according to the book. Probably what everyone does their first time in the glaze lab.

A week later, after firing and while dealing with my frustration over the NOT green color.... and munching down some funky fast food burger.... I started reading the rest of Chappell's book. All of a sudden instead of seeing just the recipes, I started reading about materials and toxicity. I nearly shit myself. I had no idea how dangerous lead could be, both to myself and to any users of this final piece. I came to realize through further reading in the following months (and years) that even with well formulated stable glazes, colorants can affect solubility and safety of glazes.

So here is my first ever glaze, in all of its toxic glory.... loaded with lead and chromium.


I don't often write about our cats. They aren't studio cats. In fact, Nancy is of the mindset that animals shouldn't live in the studio due to all the dust. So, here in all her sunny glory, is Luna. Soaking up the rays on one of the rare perfect sunny fall afternoons.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Last Weekend of Art Trail

Today marks the beginning of the last weekend of Art Trail.

I love Art Trail. We meet the most amazing folks during these two weekends. Oftentimes these chance encounters become long term friendships. Last weekend was just fantastic. There really is nothing quite like having folks excited about being in your studio, seeing how pots come into being. It really changes how they view pots and the making process.

Here's a great Art Trail this weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Politics and bedfellows and chocolate torte

I dont think anyone wants to read about my political views. Others have said much of what I would say, albeit usually with greater eloquence. So I will be brief. Today I came across a fantastic letter to the next president of the United States.

About food.

If you read nothing else of a political/social bent before the election, please read this.
Rather than all the depressing deplorable and reprehensible campaign posturing, this letter really tries to look at what our future holds. It is filled with optimism and collaboration. I am sure someone will say it is overly simplistic, and as one person replied on the comment section, they are just happy to have cheaper gas. As a nation, we seem to consistently miss out on seeing the greater picture.

Next topic of contention: Facebook.

A week ago a friend invited me to check out Having heard about the social network for a number of years, I figured, sure, why not? At first I think some part of me enjoyed the pseudo-nostalgic aspects of it. The quasi-voyeuristic nature lends itself to the isolation of the computer user. For folks too lazy to pick up a pen or even a telephone, this is the perfect way to stay in touch with friends. When someone suggested that Twitter is the new insta-blog; a more immediate way to connect with friends and family... all I could think was: oh god. we have been reduced to a culture that wants a sound bite for everything including our drab, boring-as-shit lives. Talk about depressing.

So what did I find after a week on Facebook? I found my past. I found lots of folks who I went to school with and I found/remembered the reasons I didnt stay in touch with many of them. Somewhere between humiliation, embarrassment, and frustration there was a sliver of hope that things improve with time. For now, I will call this the mythology of self: that we imagine ourselves to grow better with time. We dont.

From this mythology of my past came the demons, demi-gods and heros. All come to raise their heads from the shadows and beg the question of where I fit, where I belong. After a fair time to think on how that period in my life played out, I can safely say that my past is where it belongs; behind me. My future lays before me, with maps spread out, plans laid, and choices abound.

I guess this is where clay came into my life. Clay pushes me hard. It is never the same day to day. There is always something new to be learned, to be tried, to learn from, to fail. In my talks with my daughter I try hard to remind her that failure is the better part of learning. Trying and succeeding all the time has serious limits. Failure is a good thing and can be tons of fun too! Just ask anyone who ate the failed versions of my flourless chocolate torte.

I think I will end this entry here and hope you read the letter to the prez that I posted above. It definitely is food for thought. I am off to mix up concrete to patch the mighty big holes in my basement where we pulled water and gas pipes through the wall. Something satisfying about fixing holes in the foundation of your home. That idea seems fraught with analogy and I've had enough of that for the day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Workin' on the Trench

I think this image says it all: Art Trail, gallery open, and backhoe waiting to fill the trench back in.

Today marks day seven of the BIG DIG. It started out as a simple goal to bring water and natural gas to the studio. I never thought I would be the one laying the pipe. Turns out, my labor is a whole lot cheaper than my plumber. So for the past four days I have been fitting the pvc pipe together, then gluing it all up today, and finally fishing the stainless steel gas line through the pvc conduit. Fun fun fun.

So here is what our driveway and yard look like right now. Of course, this is right in the middle of Art Trail! Figures.

The good news is that if all goes well tomorrow, I should begin backfilling the trench tomorrow, with the gas being hooked up probably before the week's end. Then it's back to making ice cream bowls for all those folks waiting for them!

Interesting Animari - the Kinetic Moving Sculptures of Theo Jensen

I am speechless. You simply have to see these to believe them. Watch the video.

Theo's website:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Art Trail Weekend is off to a great start

This Art Trail weekend is off to a wonderful start. The weather is fantastic, sunny and clear, not a cloud in the sky. We had a really nice crowd most of the afternoon. Lots of fun conversations. I love meeting folks who have seen our sign (sometimes for years) and finally decide this is the time to stop in. Everything changes. Once they see the inside of the studio, the gallery, our workspace... it makes everything more intimate, more social, familiar. All good.

Folks think it's very funny when they come through the door and I look just like the guy on the postcard. Yeah. That'd be me three years ago, more hair....

What made the day truly unique and meaningful... had not nearly as much to do with Art Trail or our studio. I FINALLY managed to punch a BIG hole into our stone foundation of our house so I can run a gas line to our studio. Made the hole for the waterline earlier in the week with our friend Jeb. He made it look easy, so I figured I would tackle the gas line on my own. Took most of the day, all of my energy, and ALL of the profanities I could muster. But the rocks parted, the sky smiled on me, and in the end, we have a PIPE sticking out of our basement. The mice think this is cool. Tomorrow, pictures of the holes in the wall and the trench in our driveway.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

New Images

one of Evangeline and Paul's beautiful greenhouses in the setting sun

the same greenhouse but about 5 minutes later

We belong to a local CSA (community supported agriculture) every Tuesday night we are off to the farm to pick up the week's produce. Last week the sunset was so incredible, the lighting was awesome.... so Nancy and I decided to stick around a bit and shoot for a while. I LOVE their chickens!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Watch out for the fall

It sure rained a lot last week

Luna Chicken-head

Ferro Pumpkin-head

It has been a pretty colorful Fall so far this year. After spending last weekend in the Adirondacks, where the color was peaking, I wasn't anticipating much in the way of color on our trees yet. As luck would have it, it rained most of the week and the leaves are just saturated with colors. I am hoping they linger for a few more weeks so that folks out on the Art Trail get a lovely drive out in the country.

Our cats are thrilled about the onset of cooler weather. Both have taken to finding the warmest body in the house, usually me, and trying to get up on a lap anytime ANY of us sits down. That'll change once the heat really kicks on. Then they'll be happy to curl up next to the baseboard heat.